This summer the cast of Showtime’s The Chi has been bringing their own scorching levels of heat with intense acting and trending storylines that are literally ripped from the news. Known for its raw, real, intense and authentic take on the Black experience in Chicago’s Southside, The Chi has been entertaining and educating audiences since 2018.
A few weeks ago Woman To Woman Talk had the amazing opportunity to have a virtual interview with one of The Chi’s rising stars and fan favorite, Jasmine Davis. In our exclusive interview Jasmine shares what it is like to be apart of a stellar cast, what being Black in Hollywood is like, and what success really means
W2WT: When did you know that you were a creative and that the entertainment industry was for you?
JD: Oh I was a little kid when I knew entertainment was for me. I come from a family of musicians and singers so being a creative wasn’t out of the norm. It’s a natural flow because I was around it all the time. Like most kids who strive to be in entertainment I would perform at family parties and talent shows at school.
W2WT: Being in the entertainment industry for a while have you seen the growth and progression for inclusion that many studios and other businesses within the industry have pledged to do for POCs, like Black people, and other marginalized groups?
JD: Theres been a slight progression. Nowhere near where it needs to be but there has been some. There are layers to this. It’s not just one part. I mean we can look around and see a lot of Black women starting to have more visibility in various spaces within the industry. That just didn’t happen years ago. Now with that being said equity is a big issue. There is still the pay gap between white men and basically everyone else in Hollywood. Not much seems to have consistently moved. And not fast enough. Added to that, now you have it where networks and studios will have Black women and other women of color in front of the camera, behind the lens, and in the writer’s room but we are still getting paid less than white women who have less experience or talent. And that’s not right. For other communities like the LGBTQ community it’s even less. Visibility and equity is important and vital. And we don’t consistently see it. Another issue is being put in a box. We’ve seen it happen so much through Hollywood history. Limiting roles based off of stereotypes, racial bias, sex, identity. The list goes on. No one wants to be typecast. I am an actress. It’s literally my job to play different roles.
There’s still a lot of misogynistic energy affecting how things go and what opportunities are given. Misogyny creates an imbalance between masculine and feminine energy. One trying to forcibly dominate the other. The reality is that both masculine and feminine energy is needed in the world. One isn’t better than the other. All is essential. And the thing is that misogyny effects white women, black women, Asian women, Indian women, and that list goes on. There should be a united sisterhood among all women in response to this.
W2WT: It’s beautiful how you mention and believe in the need for unity and sisterhood. And it definitely appears that the women in the The Chi cast really embodies this. How would you define sisterhood? What does it look like to you?
JD: Yes! The Chi women are phenomenal. Adults and teens. Every lady walks and operates in true sisterhood. For me sisterhood is having patience and the willingness to understand each other. It also means that there is no competition. We should be elevating each other saying “Yes Sis” and supporting each other. What I do doesn’t overshadow or depreciate what you do. And vice versa. When there is constant competition jealousy and comparison creeps in. And that always overtakes people and nothing good comes from that.
W2WT: You have been doing a phenomenal job playing fan favorite “Imani.” Of course anyone watching knows The Chi has a pretty well stacked cast, how is it working with so many talented people? How is it being on The Chi in your second season as compared to your first?
JD: Thank you! It’s been incredible to being working with so many talented people. Everyone literally does something else within the entertainment space like sing or rap. And we’re all supportive of each other in our other ventures. Having such a large ensemble and so many different story lines the reality is you don’t get to work with everyone. Not unless the characters stories somehow cross paths. The table read was actually the first time I got to meet everyone. Coming into my sophomore season I’m definitely more comfortable in my own skin. And now it’s like a whole other show. Last season I came in knowing no one. Myself, Miriam Hyman, Judae’a Brown, and Luke James were the freshmen last season. This season I came back having built relationships with cast and crew. That makes a big difference.
W2WT: Within the framework that is “Trig” and “Imani”s story there is a lot deep and intense content that is explored. Like blending families, police brutality, and human sex trafficking. What is it like working with Luke James as your on screen partner? How have you both elevated each other through your work as “Imani” & “Trig”?
JD: There is definitely a lot of intensity within “Trig” and “Imani”s story. And you guys have yet to see all that actually happens. It’s the tip of the iceberg. So get ready. Working with Luke has been great! You know Luke is a very eclectic and creative person and his process into tapping into these characters is the same. We are vulnerable with each other and explore who “Trig” and “Imani” really are. We’ll ask questions wondering how they would feel in a particular moment or situation. We’ll even question where they would go and how they would respond to something as simple as an unsettling phone call. By doing this it allows Luke and I to be present, authentic, and create a valuable story. Of course it’s also a bonus that I have a very handsome costar to work so closely with. It definitely helps. And I know some ladies were wondering.
W2WT: One of the consequences of playing your role so well and becoming a hit with fans is exposure. How has that changed your life?
JD: Exposure is surreal. I hadn’t really dealt with being noticed until I began working on The Chi. Now I’m getting spotted everywhere. But I must say it’s been a good experience for me so far. When people recognize me while I’m out around the city they give so much love. It’s beautiful seeing people light up and be so happy. All because what I gave in my character on screen. And people never have to apologize for seeing me in public. Just be kind and say hi. I promise I’ll say hi back.
W2WT: With this increased success and exposure do you feel like you have had your “Mom I made it” moment?
JD: No. And I’ll tell you why. Success to me isn’t necessarily predicated on having a particular role, winning a certain award, or having a particular amount of money. Not saying I wouldn’t enjoy all that because I certainly would. I still feel like I’m hustling and bustling in my career and if I just based success off those other things I would be really sad. I see success as a 360 experience. When I can be financially secure, healthy, in a loving relationship, and have great friends all at the same time that’s when I’ll feel like I’ve had that “look mom I made it” moment. And as I strive to manifest all those things I find contentment and happiness when those things start to come one by one. And all in their own time.
W2WT: It’s evident that you are a whole positive vibe. In an ever changing world filled with highs and lows what keeps you grounded and positive? What has helped you?
JD: I am very holistic. So what has helped me is meditation, journaling, talking to my shaman, and sound baths. In addition to that being in nature is such a beautiful gift. Hiking and taking in the fresh air really does wonders in grounding me and resetting. One thing life has taught me, and this is something anyone can do no matter where you are at , is to be present. Take some time out for yourself and be present. Even if it’s just for five minutes. There is so much happening in life and if you don’t take the time to be present it can be really overwhelming. Literally five dedicated minutes will make a huge difference in your life.
W2WT: What is the biggest leap of faith you took and what advice would you give to someone who needs to take a huge leap?
JD: Living in my own truth and in this avatar as Jasmine. It wasn’t as easy as people might think. It required me to take a risk. Moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting required me to take a big risk. Sometimes a risk of loss. And I did loose a few friends after the whole world got to know me for who I am completely. Living in freedom is something that I won’t trade. And amazing things have come from taking that leap. Sometimes you gotta do what scares you the most because what you need and want could be on the other side.
W2WT: Outside of The Chi what other projects are you currently working on? What are some future goals you have for yourself?
JD: I have projects! It’s a really exciting time too. Currently I’m staring in season 2 of the Netflix show Never Have I Ever. I love this show because it has a lot of heart that centers around an Indian American teenaged girl. Fans really enjoyed the first season and I know they will enjoy this season as well. On top of that it’s created and written by the wonderful Mindy Kaling. Mindy is another amazing woman of color(Bengali & Tamil) that I have had the opportunity to work with in this moment of my career. First, I’m working with Lena (Waithe) and now Mindy. And both have hit shows! I am very fortunate. That is not lost on me at all. When I’m in LA I’ve been working at Hush Money Studio to finish my EP that will be under my music name, Princess Cree. It’s a mix of Pop and Rap and I think you are gonna be into it. My friend and The Chi cast mate Miriam (Hyman) has been a big support to me with my music. Like a lot of other artists the release was pushed back due to the pandemic. But I am excited and a little nervous for the world to finally hear it. It’s on the way. As far as future goals, of course personally I hope to own some property, have a loving and valued partner, and have a family. Now when it comes to acting I really want to be apart of the Marvel and Bond families. It would be an absolute dream come true to be apart of such iconic franchises. They are timeless and legendary. Who doesn’t love the Bond movies. And the Marvel Cinematic Universe is everything! I am definitely manifesting that!
Many thanks to Jasmine for a wonderful interview and sharing her time. You can watch Jasmine play “Imani” on The Chi Sunday nights on Showtime. And as “Tracey” on season 2 of Never Have I Ever ,currently streaming on Netflix.